post rant contains spoilers. Oh well.. The film itself is a big spoiler only.
Okay.. **takes a deep breath** I went to see this film with extremely negative reviews from almost everyone except a very few. Even VJ who watched the film a day early warned me to go with ‘no expectations’. Of course, it was a Karthi film; whoever will have expectations. Even with absolutely no expectations (in fact, my expectation levels were tending towards the negative!), I was utterly disappointed with Karthi. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s
talk rant about the Karthi disaster later.
Did I like the film? No. Was it so bad that people wanted to walk away mid-film? No. But the fact is that the negatives outweigh the positives and that by a mile. Sigh.
First, the positives; whatever little there were. Cinematography. Ravi Varman sir, please take a bow. The red-green-yellow in the Sarattu Vandiyila song. The whiteness of the snow covered Himalayas. The brownness in the Afganistan market scene. The closeups with Aditi. If we were able to sit through the film, it was because the visuals lured us into it. Nothing else did it.
A little credit should go to ARR. Or may be, I was already well versed with all the songs that I was enjoying them throughout. Yet, I felt the songs were paced too close to each other that at one point it felt like its familiarity was breeding contempt.
Another positive is Aditi Rao Hydari. How gorgeous this girl looks! Her clothes and earrings were exquisite yet so relatable. That aside, she was the only one in the entire film who really did her job well. Although her character I felt was nothing but a glorified version of the quintessential Tamil cinema’s loosu ponnu. For instance, the scene where she wants to stay in the snowy mountains even though she can clearly see the avalanche approaching and wants someone else to calmly explain why she should not stay there.. Apparently, Mani saar was portraying the character as obstinate. No saar, that’s not ego; that’s just being juvenile!
I’ll not talk about the story because there’s nothing to talk about. It’s just a mish-mash of all his previous films put together. I was not bored watching the film because I was placing from which of his previous films the scenes are from. Also, the Afganistan-Pakistan chase sequence is the biggest farce since DuraiSingam escapes from Australian Police by googling his name. Yes, I just committed the blasphemy of comparing Mani Ratnam’s film with Hari’s.
The VC character. I really want to say kudos to director saar for showing shades of negativity in a hero’s character. But I won’t. Because he didn’t carry it through. You remember my grouse about OKK where I didn’t quite like Mani saar marrying them off as the perfect ending? Same grouse I have here. If Mani Ratnam thinks VC is a male chauvinistic pig, then he should go the full distance. No, I don’t want to believe that VC gets transformed in Rawalpindi jail. What VC (and his entire family) needs is therapy.
When VC parades Leela after that fight in front of his colleagues, I felt angry. When Leela goes ahead and tells him ‘I love you’ after that scene, I felt disgusted. No.. I am not that much a romantic to believe a well educated opinionated egoistic girl would go after this guy.
In fact, none of the characters had any character. They were not defined well. At no point of time did I feel like I understood any character well; and neither did they.
Mani saar’s strong point has always been his casting. But in this film that was what let him down. Apart from Aditi, no one else fit in. Right from Delhi Ganesh, Shraddha Srinath, Rukmini (she was extremely beautiful but acting fail!) and RJ Balaji (I actually at one point felt sorry for him!), none of them knew what they were doing.
But, the biggest blunder of it all was Karthi. In one scene, he had just screamed at Aditi and is coming to her house to ask forgivance. He sits on his jeep while Aditi comes out. Sathya is carrying three-fourths of the burden of the scene by singing the soul stirring Nallai Allai. All Karthi had to do was complete it by feigning how sorry he was for his behavior. But. Seeing his expression I felt like screaming in the (almost empty) theater, ‘Can someone please put him out of his misery?’ All this while, I’ve been thinking he didn’t get the right urban script to showcase his talent. But now I realize he has already been clear that he can’t pull off any kind of romance whatsoever and that’s why he tags himself along with the likes of Santhanam and Ganja Karuppu. I am really sorry, Karthi. If even Mani saar can’t save you, no one can!
Lastly, about Mani saar. I like his films. They’ve always been magical. He’s been making reasonably good films for around the last three decades when his contemporaries have long hung up their boots. But then, the last three films of his have lacked the soul that his earlier films had. Yeah, it’s just my opinion and I am bracing for brickbats. But sorry Mani saar.. you’re just trying too hard.